[xubuntu-users] alt-delete, hmmm, interesting

Wes James comptekki at gmail.com
Tue Oct 1 18:48:30 UTC 2013

On Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 12:32 PM, Peter Flynn <peter at silmaril.ie> wrote:

> On 10/01/2013 07:04 PM, Wes James wrote:
> > I was trying to learn some commands in emacs and a cheat sheet I have
> > said to use M-delete to delete a word.  I tried that and nothing was
> > happening. After a few tries I noticed that a number of work spaces I
> > had were gone. I then tried M-backspace and that is what I really
> > wanted. M in my case was the Alt key so Alt-delete means delete a
> > work space ;)
> Emacs unfortunately suffers from having inherited some antique settings
> from early Unix keyboards, where DEL and BSP were either conflated or
> one of them was actually missing.
> The Meta key is usually Esc, so M-delete means press Esc and then press
> DEL (one after the other, not together).
> Alt can have radically different effects depending on your keyboard
> mapping. I hardly ever use Alt in Emacs (the exception being C-v to page
> down and Alt-v to page up), because it's used for so much other system
> control.
> My .emacs always starts with
>         (global-unset-key [backspace] )
>         (global-set-key [backspace] 'delete-backward-char)
>         (global-unset-key [delete] )
>         (global-set-key [delete] 'delete-char)

Thanks for these.  I'm might try them.

> to make certain that BSP and DEL *on their own* do what they are
> expected to do (nowadays; many older Unix hackers prefer DEL to perform
> a destructive backspace).

> I can confirm (on this Dell Latitude D610 laptop running Xubuntu 13.04)
> that Alt-DEL really does delete a workspace, starting from the RH end.
> This is truly unwanted behaviour, so I suggest you remap it in your
> .emacs file to something less destructive.


> ///Peter

I also ended up going in to the terminal settings and disabling the
shortcut commands.  Alt-F, etc., I'd rather use these in emacs than for


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